When Metropolitan Ministries’ Dough Nation first debuted its edible cookie dough in 2017, it was a huge hit. Opening day found 75 people in line, wrapped around the corner and waiting to get their hands on the dessert. After two years in downtown Tampa, it came as a surprise last month when it was announced Dough Nation moved north to Carrollwood.
“We’re excited about it because it’s next to Noble Crust, so it’s nice to have a big food tenant to draw people in,” Cliff Barsi, VP of Food Services and Social Enterprise, tells CL.
Barsi says they looked for a new location for a year before settling on 11642 N. Dale Mabry, just a couple spaces down from the area’s Noble Crust restaurant. The new location brings an expanded menu comprised of more flavors of ice cream, cakes, and pies. Specialty items include milkshakes, banana splits, sundaes, and cookie sandwiches. Vegan and soft-serve ice cream options are on their way. Menu items range between $1.95 for a small Kahwa coffee to $9 for a large ice cream, allowing guests to mix and match six flavors according to their palate or budget.
Dough Nation helps students in Metropolitan Ministries’ culinary arts and catering programs attain job training skills. The same students who worked at the previous downtown Tampa still currently work at the new location. The Duncan Duo Real Estate Company are the Carrollwood location’s investors aka “Dough-vestors,” which means they paid for the buildout and equipment. Any Dough-vestor has the opportunity to choose which program they want to benefit; as Dough-vestor, Duncan Duo Real Estate decided all profits from the new Dough Nation benefit Metropolitan Ministries’ Affordable Housing program.
“Our big goal is job training, creating jobs, and creating revenue back to our Metropolitan Ministries programs to help our community,” Barsi says.
The 1,100-square-foot space offers 32 seats, which means locals can grab a chair and devour the latest creations of edible cookie dough and ice cream. It soft-opened earlier this month but is planning a grand opening celebration with the media and the Carrollwood Chamber of Commerce for early February. Dough Nation is open Sunday-Thursday noon-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday noon-11 p.m.
“Our new menu is bigger. Instead of having nine flavors of cookie dough, we have 12. Instead of eight flavors of ice cream, we have 16,” he says.
They’ve added an interactive component inside with a camera that lets customers create photos and videos to stick on the walls.
“It’ll be cool for them to share on social media and have it printed in the store,” he says. Because, what is the Tampa Bay food scene without Instagrammable eats and decor? These factors will also help echo Metropolitan Ministries' mission to invest in those who are taking the steps to not only better their lives but follow their dreams through the organization's culinary arts and catering programs.
Future plans are underway for more Dough Nation locations around Tampa; announcements will be made in the upcoming weeks.
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